NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Fifty-four people have been killed in Kenya’s northern region in tribal fighting that police say was started by a cattle raid, the Kenya Red Cross said Wednesday.
Five others were critically wounded in the attacks in Turkana county and 350 people have been displaced from their homes by the violence, the agency said.
Police said the attacks began Monday when armed raiders believed to be Pokots attacked a Turkana village and stole animals, killing seven people. Turkana gunmen retaliated that night.
Livestock-keeping nomadic tribes in Kenya’s north routinely engage in traditional cattle raids, which experts say have become more deadly because the tribes have switched from using spears and arrows to guns.
These nomadic tribes have also resisted police attempts to arrest those involved in the cattle raids. In November, 22 police officers were killed as they pursued cattle thieves. In November 2012, 42 police officers were killed pursuing herds of stolen cattle.
Kenya’s interior minister said Wednesday he is deeply disappointed over the killings that happened even after regional politicians signed a peace accord in January. Minister Joseph Nkaissery said the government had launched an operation to disarm all communities in the region.
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